Archives for the Month of May 2007 on Through the Magnifying Glass

Do not upload videos to Break.com

Please note that if you upload any type of media to www.break.com, you are agreeing to sell, assign, or transfer your copyright to TMFT Enterprises, LLC, a Delaware limited company and its affiliated entities.

So if you upload some cool photos of babes frolicking on the beach, or a personal video of some cool guitar playing, you are NOT ALLOWED to post this content on any other media site (i.e. liveleak.com, youtube.com, weakgame.com, etc.).

Sometimes you need to read the fine print. TMFT Enterprises state that whatever you uploaded to their site, they would assert that they are given a non-exclusive, fully-paid, world-wide, royalty-free license to publicly display, publicly perform, distribute, and reproduce your content, portions, or works in any manner and in any medium.

Already, these shady charcters are sending cease-and-desist letters to youtube.com, digg.com, and other social/media sites if they happen to see an indentical media file that has been uploaded to their site.

So how to avoid this unnecessary hassle? Do not use www.break.com.

Thanks!

Have tuberculosis, will travel

According to the Centers for Disease & Control (CDC), the man infected with a drug-resistant form of TB knew he was not supposed to travel overseas but did so anyway.

The man's excuse? He told an Atlanta newspaper that the health officials told he was infected but said they "preferred" he not travel.

He was placed on a no-fly list when the lab tests where confirmed positive for XDR TB. He was in Italy at the time. So he went around that barrier by flying into Montreal, Canada, and drove across the border in the states. Wow, what secure borders we have here!

The man said he sneaked back into the country because he feared "an unsuccessful treatment in Italy would have doomed him." Imagine if he had a more infectious disease like the one in the movie, The Last Stand?" We can thank him for bringing the plague back to the US.

Questions and an investigation into Homeland Security have begun in order to determine why this man was able to get through the Canadian border from Montreal.

CNN

Update 06/01/2007

This is very scary. Apparently, the TB person showed up on the border inspector's computer when he scanned his identification documents. The computer gave a warning to the inspector to stop him from entering the country and don protective gear, but he did not do so. Instead, he allowed him to pass through the checkpoint.

The inspector, who has been removed from border duty, explained that he was no doctor but that the infected man seemed perfectly healthy and that he thought the warning was merely "discretionary."

WTF?!?!? I do not want to make a big deal out of this, but such a warning from the computer system is a RED FLAG, so it is best to just detain the individual instead of just letting him pass through. Also, certain diseases can lie in an incubated state. Just imagine a person just infected with smallpox or ebola getting through our border just like that. They would look fine initially, but just enough time to get through the border before the disease breaks out.

MY WAY

Cut the Power and I will die, so he cut the power

If you are the company electrician arriving to a house that is behind on their payments and you see a woman on an electric oxygen pump that needs to power to stay alive, do you go ahead and cut the power, or defer to a supervisor or some person in charge to consider the situation.

Obviously, common sense would dictate that you would call the company office and have the supervisor make the call.

Instead, this Mercury Energy electrician chose to cut the power, even after the family showed him that the mother needed the electric oxygen pump to stay alive.

For a bill that was $122 in arrears.

Mercury Energy's general manager James Moulder stated that "we were simply unaware that loss of electricity to the household was putting a vulnerable customer at risk."

Wait a minute here...didn't the technician that arrived on-site saw the electric oxygen pump? And after he cut the power, the woman had difficulty breathing, became faint, and then collapsed. She was pronounced dead within two hours.

CNN

$516,348 per US household

If we use current corporate modern accounting, our US federal government would owe a record $59.1 TRILLION in liabilities. This include unfunded promises for Medicare, Social Security, and federal retirement programs which account for 85% of taxpayer liabilities.

Anyway, if we just count for the 2006-07 fiscal period for our wonderous central government, we would have recorded a loss of $1.3 trillion dollars, not the official $248 billion deficit.

USA TODAY

Togetherism, not Individualism

Yes, Presidential Hillary Rodham Clinton wants to replace the so-called "on your own" society with one based on shared responsiblity and prosperity. No more "ownership society" as touted by President Bush. Clinton wants a "we're all in it together" society.

Yes, we can grow in this country, but we must do it fairly. Then she uses the great opportunity slogan combined with special privileges for none. So if you do a better job with yourself than everyone else, you will get penalised.

Then she calls for free markets but includes that we must promote our values, protect the workers, and give all people a chance to succeed. But aren't we doing that right now? You want to give the less fortunate a better chance, but for the ones that do good, they don't get anything?

Honor our Troops, not Protest Them

Memorial Day is a time to remember the U.S. men and women who lost their lives serving their country. Originally known as Decoration Day, it was established in 1868 to commemorate the dead from the Civil War. Over the years it came to serve as a day to remember all U.S. men and women killed or missing in action in all wars.

troops_memorial.jpg

memorial_day_march.jpg

memorial_day_tribute.jpg

Unfortunately, presidential candidate John Edwards wants to break precedence by supporting the troops and being anti-war at the same time. His campaign has established a web site to encourage people to protest the war on Memorial Day.

It is so amusing when they love using the phrase "support the troops" to insulate themselves from criticism. It is up to the politicians to end the war, not the military. The military will serve until the mission is done. Simple.

This is the Armed Forces' most sacred day. John Edwards' web site wants to ruin it. Listed are "10 things you can do over Memorial Weekend." They include:

* Get everyone you know to sign a petition to your local government body -- for instance, your town or city council or neighborhood association -- to pass a resolution requesting that Congress use its funding authority to support our troops and end the war.

* Organize a prayer vigil for our troops at your house of worship.

* At a picnic or with family and friends, make signs that say “SUPPORT THE TROOPS - END THE WAR.”… Then take a digital photo of yourself and your family or friends holding up the poster and tell us about it. We’ll include it in a “Democracy Photo Album” on our site.

* Greet a vet.

National Commander of the American Legion Paul Morin:

“The families of those killed in war should not be led to believe that their loved ones died for a less-than-worthy cause. They died because they took an oath to defend this nation and its Constitution. The sacrifice is the same whether it’s for a ‘popular war’ or an unpopular one. Memorial Day should be an occasion to bring Americans together to honor these heroes.”

UEFA Champions League 06/07: Liverpool vs AC Milan

Starting at 2:45PM EST, Liverpool and AC Milan will meet in Athens, Greece to play the UEFA Champions League Final.

It is a rematch from the unforgettable 2005 Final where AC Milan scored three goals in the first half only to have Liverpool score 3 goals in return in the second to equalise the game. After extra time, it went down to penalties and Liverpool's keeper Dudek saved two attempts. Liverpool won 4-1.

Here's SkyOne "One Night in May" show about that particular day where Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League for the fifth time.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

2006/07 Result:

AC Milan 2, Liverpool FC 1

I would say overall Liverpool was better, but they could not create chances from their set pieces. I think a few ref calls in the 2nd half went against Liverpool, but well done AC Milan.

Morals Collide at Boulder High School

The Conference on World Affairs did an April panel session at Boulder High School extolling sex and drug use to high school students as young as fourteen years old!

The talk was called "STDs: Sex, Teens, and Drugs." The four panelists were a Los Angeles psychology professor, a Los Angeles storyteller, a New York community-engagement leader and the director of the Drug Policy Project in Washington, D.C.

Listen to excerpts from the panel discussion (630AM KHOW radio show)

Text transcript of CWA session

The panelists talked about the difficulty of maintaining an erection while using condoms, the naturalness of experimenting with same-sex relationships and why drugs should be legalised.

Quote from Joel Becker, the psychology professor: "I am going to encourage you to have sex and encourage you to use drugs appropriately. And why I am going to take that position is because you're going to do it anyway."

Another quote: "I want to encourage you to all have healthy, sexual behavior... Well I don't care if its men with men, women and women, men and woman. Whatever combination you would like to put together."

Quote from Andee Gerhardt, the community-engagement leader with Ernst and Young: "This is about thinking about the choices you're making today and how they're going to affect you over the long haul."

Conference organisers said the participants spoke "candidly and sensibly to the high school audience, providing cautionary information about alcohol consumption, drugs, sexual issues, and teens."

Candidly? Sensibly? Telling folks that long-term sexual relationships are no good. That it is alright for a girl to have sex with a boy, even if the boy does not love her. Another panelist told students to go ahead and try same-sex relationships at an early age. One wanted to use exctasy as part of psychological experiment but he did not have any.

Was it right for the school to allow this discussion to be told to students as young as 14 years old? I would expect such a thing would be presented to college students or high school students (juniors and seniors). Why was the discussion mandatory for all? Ideally, it should have been voluntary.

One student's family complained about the discussion. I really have to assume there are more but they are too afraid to exhibit such an "unpopular" view in front of everyone else. A shout out to Boulder High sophomore Daphne White and her mother, Priscilla, for complaining to the Boulder Valley School Board.

Of course, the school board thought it was inappropriate after the school board president told Priscilla White to stop reading excerpts from the panel discussion. Really? Was it that offensive?

So as a result, school district spokesman Briggs Gamblin stated that Boulder High will no longer require students to attend the panel discussions and will more carefully vet the panels.

Perhaps we should open a new wing of the high school and name it "The Young Brothel Wing."

denverpost.com - School district rethinks policies on CU panels

RockyMountainNews.com - Organizers defend sex talk at Boulder High

Sam Waterson of Law and Order Joins Unity 08

The Honor Killing of Du'a Khalil Aswad

dua_khalil_aswad.jpgIt sickens me that this medieval savagery continutes to take place. While our U.S. soldiers try to keep the peace in Baghdad and in other major cities, we depend on the Kurdistan government in northern Iraq to keep the peace and maintain a fledging democracy and to suppress the use of "honor killings."

This act of barbism was committed by members of the Yazidi religion, a pre-Islamic, pre-Christian pagan faith.

Du'a Khalil Aswad was a 17-year-old girl who fell in love with a Sunni Muslim boy. Yes, she fell in love with a person who was not of her religion. Her family was shamed by this. A sentence of death was passed on her after she did not return home one night.

Miss Aswad took shelter in the house of a Yezidi tribal leader in Bashika, a predominantly Kurdish town near the northern capital of Mosul. A large crowd watched as eight or nine men stormed the house and dragged her into the street.

For 30 minutes, she was beaten, kicked, and stoned at the hands of a lynch mob. Among these men were her uncle, brother, and cousin.

She was killed when a large and heavy cinderblock was passed through the crowd, and one man forcefully dropped it on her head.

The crowd of men cheered. As her lifeless body lay there on the ground, observers and participants took photos and video shots as some sort of memento.

A local security force witnessed the incident but did nothing to stop it.

Her boyfriend is now in hiding fearing for his life.

It is known that honor killings have taken place, but this incident was so publicised. The sick bastards decide to take pictures and videos of her battered body and posted them on the internet.

Of course, the Yazidis are now asking the Iraqi government for protection because of all the retailiation.

"It is unacceptable because Yazidis, in addition to being a minority in Iraq, have been discriminated against for their beliefs and are forced to isolate themselves to stay alive," Hebert Yegorova, a spokesman for Yazidi Peace Association, said.

"Whatever we worship doesn't affect the normal lives of Iraqis and as we respect their beliefs, we have to have ours respected too," Yegorova said. "We don't worship the devil but they are confusing terminologies and this is unfair."

Honor killings are barbaric. Stonings are abhorrent. We will respect your beliefs, but we will not condone cold blooded murder. The men shown on the photos and video killing this girl ought to be hunted down.

The Daily Mail has photos of the killing. Viewer discretion is advised. Another link.

Amnesty International condemned the killing as abhorrent.

Scientology Controls Riverside County, CA

Here's another town or county, in addition to Clearwater, FL, that you should not live in if you choose to become a critic of Scientology or if you are just basically against them.

Keith Henson is an engineer, scientist, and Scientology critic. Apparently, in 2000, he was picketing the Scientology's "armed" compound at Gilman Hot Springs, north of Hemet, CA. It would seem there was a freak accident where a young woman was killed when a crew working for the cult left their skiploader vehicle sticking out on the dark highway and she got decapitated.

So how did Henson get arrested? It would seem that he was browsing the Usenet group, alt.religion.scientology, and there was a thread about sending in "Tom Cruise missiles." So he responded to that thread. By doing so, Scientology got Mr. Henson arrested and he was charged with outrageous counts such as making terrorist threats, stalking, and harassment.

It went to court, and Henson was at a clear disadvantage. Scientology had the cash, its numerous whining witnesses, and a judge that was clearly "bought" by the organisation. Mr. Henson's lawyer could not mount a sufficient defense, was not allowed to mention the word "Scientology" and his witnesses were not allowed to give testimony. In the end, he was found guilty of interfering with a religion, a misdemeanor charge and was sentenced to a year in jail.

Since he knew that he won't be safe at Riverside, he wanted to relocate to Canada. Scientology told Canadian authorities that he was a danger. Henson had no choice but to return back to the states.

He was later arrested in Arizona and is awaiting extradition to Riverside County to complete his jail sentence.

Now, his lawyer is unable to communicate with him, his wife is not allowed to visit him, and Keith Henson cannot even get his medication. Meanwhile, the Scientology machine is going full-tilt, using anonymous postings, web sites, and other means of communication to tell everyone that Henson is a dangerous pedophile and a child molester.

There is currently an online petition to get Keith Hanson pardoned.

As such, if you want more details on this person and the trouble that Scientology is giving him, visit http://www.operatingthetan.com/.

Thanks to Daily Kos for publicising this terrible story.

Here are the detailed charges against Keith Henson. Quite ridiculous.

If you live in Riverside County, CA, do not get Judge Robert H. Wallerstein to preside over your case.

CBS cancels Jericho; Replaced with Kiddie Reality Show

cbs_jericho.jpgCBS stated that they cancelled the nuclear apocalypse drama because it "lost a lot of steam." According to Kelly Kahl, CBS' chief scheduling executive, "I know we had loyal viewers... but the show sort of lost its engine and wasn't performing."

First of all, you put the show on midseason hiatus. I actually looked forward to seeing Jericho on Wednesday night. The same thing happened when NBC put "Heroes" on hiatus midseason too, but at least they still did well, and got renewed for next year.

It pretty much sucks cause the season finale is a cliffhanger and now with no second season, we can only imagine what happens next in our minds. It would seem CBS is shying away from serialised dramas and sticking with reality shows and shows that do not have sort of long-term storyline. I kinda thought Jericho did a good job trying to compete with Fox's 24 in terms of doing some sort of apocalyptic drama. At least I got something to watch on Monday and Wednesday of each week.

But really, it's CBS' fault for inserting the long hiatus in between. It is definitely obviously that viewers will get discouraged if there is such a long break.

So there are definitely petitions out there trying to save the show. You can sign up at PetitionOnline.com.

If you want to send actual letters to Kelly Kahl, send it to: CBS Television Network, 51 West 52nd Street, NY, NY 10019.

Now what really upsets me is their new reality idea for the fall. They want to create a "Lord of the Flies" show where a group of 8 to 15-year old kids try to create their own society. The name of show is tentatively titled "Kid Nation."

We dealt with "Survivor" and "Amazing Race." Now we get to see kids try to survive with adults? Wait...didn't we see that before? Remember the show "Jeremiah" where a plague killed every adult over the age of puberty back in 2002. It only went for two seasons.

Let's not keep on killing a dead horse. We know Fox's American Idol will lose interest. We will hopefully get tired of the Bachelor and Bachelorette. Let's stop with all this reality nonsense.

Bring back Jericho, or at least sell the show to Showtime or HBO. They will do a much better job with it.

DNC not using Fox News for their debates

FOX_News.jpgThe Democratic National Committee (DNC) has officially announced the dates for their six sanctioned debates. CNN and NBC get two, ABC and CBS get one each. Fox News gets nada.

July 23, 2007: YouTube/Google and CNN in Charleston, SC

August 19, 2007: ABC in Des Moines, IA

September 26, 2007: NBC News/MSNBC in Hanover, NH

October 30, 2007: NBC News/MSNBC in Philadelphia, PA

November 15, 2007: CNN in Las Vegas, NV

December 10, 2007: CBS in Los Angeles, CA

Interesting to see they're not trying any of the southern states. C'mon I want to see an actual debate, not pandering to just one side.

Democrats to change House rules to suit majority

House_Leader_Pelosi.jpgApparently, due to suffering embarassing defeats on their Iraq legislation, the Democratic leadership are looking into changing the current House Rules to shut out the Republican minority.

They are threatening to change the House Rules regarding the Republican right to the Motion to Recommit or the test of germaneness on the motion to recommit. This motion would return a bill to committee, thereby killing it. A motion to recommit with instructions is a last opportunity to amend the bill.

The minority usually receive priority of recognition for offering motions to recommit. The Democrats did this when the Republicans were in the majority.

I guess Pelosi's promise of treating Republicans with an equal say on the floor was pretty much a lie. I would thought that Democrats would change the cycle of the political parties stabbing each other when one takes control from the other. This rule change to the germaneness clause would be the first since 1822.

Republicans are staging a protest by calling procedural motions every half hour.

Bring it on. We all love a do-nothing House of Representatives.

Oh yea, remember what they said in December 2006...

“[W]e promised the American people that we would have the most honest and most open government and we will.” (Nancy Pelosi press stakeout, December 6, 2006)

“We intend to have a Rules Committee ... that gives opposition voices and alternative proposals the ability to be heard and considered on the floor of the House.” (Steny Hoyer in CongressDaily PM, December 5, 2006)


Unfortunate general chosen as "war czar"

lt_gen_doug_lute.jpgInterestingly enough, the army general does have a resemblance to the President. So it is unfortunate that Lt. General Douglas Lute, the Pentagon's director of operations and a former leader of U.S. military forces in the Middle East has been chosen as the new "war czar" for Iraq and Afghanistan.

As the new "war czar," he would serve as an assistant to the president (how many does he have now?) and deputy national security adviser (oh..so two people...hmm, to get more than one opinion), and would also maintain his military status and rank as a three-star general (i thought major general would sound cooler than lieutenant).

But wait Bush says he is not a "war czar" but a "full-time manager." How about "possible scapegoat if you screw this up" position?

He still needs to be confirmed by the Senate.

But honestly, his colleagues must have been telling him not to do it. A bit of political pressure? Bush is the President and Commander-in-Chief. I guess he needs someone to be the patsy.

I truly hope General Lute can pull it off. If he does, maybe we'll make him President.

CNN.com - Bush taps general to coordinate war efforts

Could Mayor Bloomberg's Possible Presidential Run Change Our Political Landscape?

mayor_bloomberg.jpgReports have shown that New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is prepared to spend about $1 billion of his own $5.5 billion personal fortune for a third-party presidential campaign. The mayor has told close personal friends and associates that he will make a third-party run if he thinks he can influence the national debate.

Former Federal Election Commission Chairman Michael Toner:
"Bloomberg is H. Ross Perot on steroids."

Republicans are worried that Bloomberg could split the Republican vote and allow the Democratic presidential candidate win the election.

But could a substantial percentage of the voting populace choose to vote for a third-party candidate? Such a thing would shock the two-major political party landscape. With more money than either Democratic or Republican candidate, Bloomberg would not have any problem getting his name on the ballot in all 50 states.

Imagine voting for a third-party candidate that takes the "best" from each side. Hmm, curious... Perhaps the Unity 08 campaign may have found a banner leader.

Washington Times - Bloomberg poised for third-party campaign

The USPS Forever Stamp: A Myth

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On Monday, May 14th, the price of a first-class stamp went up from 39 to 41 cents. As such, you have the usual flurry of people rushing to post offices to buy booklets of 2 cent stamps. In addition to that, the US Postal Service unveiled their new Forever Stamp.

For 41 cents, the stamp can be used to mail a piece of first-class mail at any point in the future regardless of future rate increases. So basically you can buy a thousand Forever stamps now and still be able to use them decades from now. This sort of savings for consumers is all but a myth.

You are expecting consumers to adopt a buy-hold strategy. Now with these rate increases, the cost of a first-class stamp was raised 8 times over a 20-year period. So would there be any significant savings? Probably not unless you buy the stamps in bulk.

Now I was thinking that such an idea should have been introduced years ago. I thought there was a time we bought first-class stamps without any number-cent showing. Wasn't that the forever stamp in name? Like there was a time where that first-class stamp did not have that 37, 39, or 41 cent number displayed, right? Years ago, I remember having a couple of American-flag stamps but they did not have any cent-designation, but they were definitely first-class stamps. I'm thinking that the USPS accountants were penny-pinchers and did not want customers using older stamps without paying the today's cost of them.

So this "Forever Stamp" idea is good but why should we still have a 41-cent stamp alongside it? Get rid of that one, and make the "Forever Stamp" permanent. If you buy a couple of booklets now, and the rate goes up, you save a couple of bucks.

One of the few French things that I am jealous of

The fastest TGV train on record

91-year old man being beaten up, bystanders stood by and did nothing

The thief was trying to carjack an elderly man's vehicle and punched him 21 times. In the video, there were several bystanders. They did NOTHING to intervene.

May 15 - No Gas Day

Remember not to buy gas tomorrow (Tuesday) May 15 to protest outrageous gas prices.

A myth? It would not cause any adverse effects, but it would be nice to give NJ's gas station employees a day off. We are still one out of two states where we cannot pump our own gas.

I like to note that as of last week, filling up my gas tank now exceeds $51.00. The cheapest I had to pay was about $28 two months ago.

Circuit City Clerk should not be afraid of being a hero

Imagine if you were working a counter handling video-to-DVD requests and you got a mini-cassette tape showing a group of bearded men wearing "fundamentalist attire" and shooting guns. For ninety minutes, you see them screaming "God is great!" as they practice their gunfire at a target range. Would you do something about it?

The teenage clerk at the Circuit City store did not know what to do. He told his co-worker about it. He was afraid that he was discriminating someone or being "racist" about it. The clerk then talked to his manager before deciding to call 911.

It set in motion a 16-month undercover investigation that led to the arrest and capture of six men trying to launch an attack on the military facility Fort Dix.

After news broke that federal authorities arrested the six foreign-born Muslims, the teen clerk went into hiding -- not coming to work or going to school until the situation blew over.

Do not be scared. You did what was right, and you acted on instinct. If CAIR screams about discrimination and racism, screw them.

NY Post Article

English Premiership Soccer: West Ham United Survives...for now.

West_Ham.gifSetting the controversial signings of Tevez and Mascherano aside, West Ham United needed at least a draw against Manchester United to remain in the Premiership next season. Also, it had to contend with Sheffield United and Wigan Athletic playing their last game with relegation on the line.

For the soccer/football newbies, if you play poorly, you get relegated (or demoted) to the lower divison. For English soccer, the Premiership is the first divison, the Championship is second division, and the third and fourth division are League 1 and 2 respectively. If you get relegated, you lose out on the tv rights, the sponsorship deals, and lower gate receipts. Some clubs would lose about 30 to 50 million pounds if they get relegated.

On Survival Sunday, Wigan Athletic defeated Sheffield United 2-1 at Bramall Lane while West Ham scored their first double (since 1977) against Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford. Thus, the happy Hammers ended up in 15th with 41 points. Wigan survived in 17th with 38 points with a goal difference of -22. Sheffield United was relegated being in 18th place with 38 points, but with a goal difference of -23.

If it were me, this ought to be decided on the pitch, and not in the courts. Yet, teams such as Sheffield United, Charlton, Wigan, Fulham, and Watford are looking into whether they should file legal action against the Premier League for failing to dock points from West Ham instead of a 5.5 million pound fine or in addition to it.

They are quite upset that the independent commission decided to levy a huge financial fine on West Ham for violating league rules and not a points deduction. They felt that West Ham was being given favoured treatment because they are such a popular club and that if it were Sheffield or Wigan, they would have gotten a points deduction. With nine games left, West Ham was 10 points from safety, so some felt that justice would be served if they keeping on playing poorly, they would get relegated the usual way.

But it did not turn out that way. West Ham went on to win seven matches out of nine. Sheffield only won 2 and drew once in the last nine games. Wigan only won once and drew three times in the their last nine.

I appreciate Wigan's win over Sheffield in order to survive. They are not a large-sized club and they had a rough time this season after doing a good job placing 10th last year. Yet they were not favourites to survive. It was actually Sheffield United. It was their last home game and usually they tend to win at home. To some fans and pundits, Sheffield United's manager Neil Warnock did not field a strong team for their last game and they lost.

But yet Warnock chooses to blame Manchester United for fielding a weak team against West Ham, bad referring decisions in the present game and in past games. He reluctantly admitted that he should have fielded a slightly stronger side against Wigan.

Manchester United Sir Alex Ferguson defended his team selection. "I feel for Sheffield United but we did our best and I don't think anyone can criticise us," argued Ferguson. "We had 25 strikes at goal, we had four shots knocked off the line and we had a stonewall penalty turned down. When Neil Warnock sees the stats of our game, he will understand we were unlucky." Honestly, I think Alex protected the integrity of the game. The team he fielded was quite strong with Wayne Rooney, Alan Smith, Michael Carrick, and John O'Shea. He even substituted Giggs, Ronaldo, and Scholes with about 30 minutes to go. C'mon here. ManU has their FA Cup Final match against Chelsea next week, so Sir Alex had to balance his priorities. Plus, they won the Premiership title the week before so this last game was not a huge thing on his list. To me, I think his side was pretty strong, and the Hammers were very lucky to win that match.

Honestly, Neil Warnock was bitching about Liverpool fielding a weak team, and but he was not complaining when he got a point from a draw. He was being so hypocritical. Look at your record. 10 wins, 8 draws, and 20 losses. Only 2 wins in your last nine games. You knew you had relegation looking right at you but your players did not produce. Stop blaming everyone else for your shortcomings.

Will West Ham be able play next season in the top flight? Sheffield United Chairman Kevin McCabe wants to take this to the European Human Rights Commission??? Could the courts ruin the Hammers' suvival efforts? Some folks feel the court proceedings will last throughout the summer and any decision would be made during next season. Yet, could the Premier League decide to send West Ham to the Championship if the season already started? One possible way is that West Ham would be given a points deduction at the start of next season.

Anyways, I am glad we proved ourselves on the pitch and not in the courts. If Sheffield gets their way, expect a long-lasting rivalry like Millwall.

The Boston Pops Brawl

bostonpops_fight.jpgWhen someone mentions a brawl, you picture maybe 10-15 people fighting it out. Such a thing can be seen at a baseball, basketball, soccer, or football game. But at a classical concert hall???

During opening night for the Boston Pops Orchestra at Symphony Hall, a fistfight broke out in the balcony. Television cameras caught two men struggling in the balcony -- one with his shirt pulled off -- as several people stood around them.

Both men were later escorted out.

One of the men, Matthew Ellinger, says the trouble started when the man in front of him wouldn't stop talking during the concert. He says when he asked him to quiet down, the guy threatened to throw him off the balcony. Ellinger called an usher. Witnesses say the man then punched the victim in the face and grabbed him by the hair.

MSNBC - Fight breaks out in audience of Boston Pops

77 Seconds to Evacuate an Airbus A380

It took 77 seconds to evacuate 873 people from an Airbus A380 jet. Only eight of the sixteen exits were accessible.

Of course, a controlled environment. Now let's add some fire, panicking passengers, ladies with high heels, and people just tumbling out of the emergency chutes.

Stealing campus newspapers b/c they looked fat

girls_steal_newspaper.jpg

To Chris Calzolaio, junior and sports editor of The Gatepost student newspaper at Framingham State College, it was the perfect picture for the April 27 edition. The photo showed seven female students in the stands at a lacrosse game with their stomachs painted to spell a player's name.

But the girls in the photo did not think so. Over half of the 2,000 copies of the edition disappeared soon after the paper was distributed across campus.

Usually, the campus newspaper would get swiped because of a controversial editorial or cartoon, but because they looked kinda fat in the picture?

The newspaper had to spend an additional $600 to print 500 more copies. Editor Megan Turner wants the culprits to pay for it.

Boston.com - Students find photo hard to stomach, take papers

WHDH-TV - College students: Do I look fat in this picture?

Dorm Room Cleaniness & Etiquette

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It can be quite a challenge for any dorm roommate, living with another student who is lazy, messy, or being irresponsible. In a double, you have to deal with the person because both of you are occupying one entire room. For those that live in suites, that one person can upset the rest of the occupants by not keeping the common area and kitchenette clean and tidy. It is especially difficult when that messy roommate is your best friend.

It is true that we all have different living standards. It depends on the environment, parents' upbringing, and their self-conduct. You might get the roommate who does not know he or she is a slob. You may get another roommate who knows he or she is a slob, but makes no attempt to clean after himself or be somewhat responsible. Or you get a roommate that tries to be clean and considerate but is not always consistent.

If you know there is going to be a problem, be proactive! I know some have suggested that you have to give some sort of financial incentive. It is kinda ridiculous because you're paying quite a lot for attending Case, and now you are paying $20 bucks to your suitemate to clean up after himself. That's pretty lazy. Maybe you can offer him a share of the empty soda and beer cans. He can take them to Dave's or Giant Eagle and get them recycled and he can pocket the nickels. Who knows if you have a penny pincher living in the suite.

Whether you are living in a double, triple, or a suite, start by drawing up a duty list at the beginning of the semester. Rotate on cleaning up the trash, the dishes and sink, dumping out the ashtray, and keeping the place just a bit tidy. Draw up some penalties like $5 bucks for missing your turn or you have to buy pizza for the suite or something.

It seems simple enough. But we do have to acknowledge that there are some people out there who are so lazy that they won't clean up the area until the ants and cockroaches start infesting the place. He could be the person that would hold impromptu social gatherings in the suite, but does not clean up the place afterwards. He won't partake in cleaning up the vomit and spilled beer on the carpet.

Yep, it's University property, but you and your suitemates have to live in that place for the whole entire semester, if not the whole entire academic year. Could you really deal with the smell for that long?

If it really gets bad, then your RA or RD should get involved. I understand that the suitemates have to take responsibility and learn to resolve the problem themselves, but there is always the situation that will require action from the "folks upstairs."

Or you can do it yourself, but in a nagging way. If the suitemate is really a slob, be extra anal with the cleaniness. If he left a piece of clothing with some trash, throw it all out, and apologise for the "accident." Use air freshener on a consistent basis. Start vacuuming the suite during the hours when he's sleeping. If he left some beer cans on the table, drink it all, and dump the rest and tell him that he probably drunk it all since he was passed out. Be literal in throwing his food out of the fridge one day after it's been there.

If they start complaining, then they can either deal with it and fuss up, or just transfer to another dorm suite or room next semester.

No Sympathy for Paris Hilton

paris_hilton.jpgParis Hilton is going to jail.

(round of applause)

The party heiress told photographers gathered outside her home, "I feel that I was treated unfairly and that the sentence is both cruel and unwanted and I don't deserve this."

Hilton's attorney, Howard Weitzman, promised an appeal. "She's been selectively targeted in my opinion to be prosecuted because of who she is."

Kathy Hilton, her mother, laments on the sentencing: "[The judge] made up his mind before he even came in today. If it were anyone else, this would've never had happened... And after all the money we spent!"

Apparently, trying to get out of a sticky mess with money does not always work.

Paris Hilton, just like every other socialite, relies on her publisher and assistants to handle all her chores and errands. So it would seem that she needed someone to read her the suspension of license notice or make sure her Bentley is full of gas.

Consider the facts:

FACT: On September 7, 2006, Paris Hilton was pulled over on a reckless driving charge and failed a field sobriety test. Like a responsible citizen aware that she had made a mistake, she pleaded no contest to the charge and was sentenced to 36 months probation and required to enroll in an alcoholo education class.

FACT: On January 15, Paris was pulled over again and informed that she was driving on a suspended license. Police let her off with a warning, but required that she sign a document acknowledging that she understood her licensewas suspended and she was not supposed to drive.

FACT! On February 27 at 11 pm, Paris was pulled over again after authorities saw her car speeding with its headlights off. In her glove compartment, police found the document acknowledging she understood she wasn’t supposed to drive.

FACT!! Paris had been required to enroll in that alcohol education program by February 12, but as of April 17, she still had not.

Also, insulting Los Angeles Judge Michael Sauer by showing up for her probation violation hearing 20 MINUTES LATE does not help her case. I see it as affront to the state judicial system and her apparent disregard for the law.

So we will all look forward to June 5 where Paris will let go her partying clothes, don an orange jumpsuit and be confined to a 12-by-8 foot space. One hot meal per day plus two cold ones, no fancy gourmey caviar, sorry.

The police gave her so many warnings but she continued to flaunt it. The bottom line is that you committed a crime, so go to jail and deal with it.

Here's an amusing letter to the Governator by a Paris fan named Joshua.

May 5, 2007 (This is what Joshua told Paris)

To: The Honorable Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger:

Let me first begin by saying that I grew up as a child enjoying all of your wonderful films. You really are the truly great action hero for our time. You are doing a great job in the great state of California.

I would like to bring a matter to your attention that you may or may not already be aware of due to the excessive media coverage this matter has received recently:

Paris Whitney Hilton is 26 year old American celebrity and socialite. She is an heiress to a share of the Hilton Hotel fortune, as well as to the real estate fortune of her father Richard Hilton. She provides hope for young people all over the U.S. and the world. She provides beauty and excitement to (most of) our otherwise mundane lives. Hilton is notable for her leading roles on the FOX reality series The Simple Life and in the remake of the Vincent Price horror classic “House of Wax”. In addition to her work as an actress, she has achieved some recognition as a model, celebrity spokesperson, singer, and writer.

As most of America now knows, Ms. Hilton was just charged in a Los Angeles court with DUI and sentenced to 45 days in Century Regional Detention Facility in California beginning on or before June 5, 2007.

We, the American public who support Paris, are shocked, dismayed and appalled by how Paris has been the person to be used as an example that Drunk Driving is wrong. I do not support drunk driving or condone a person being spared from DUI charges. Paris should have been sober. But she shouldn’t go to jail, either. As depicted on Friday night’s episode “Nancy Grace” on Headline News (May 4, 2007), countless celebrities have been “slapped on the wrist” for similar incidents recently. Nick Nolte, Mel Gibson, Tracy Morgan, Wynonna Judd, to name a few, were arrested and never did a day in jail after their initial arrests for drunk driving /DUI /DWI charges. Rappers Busta Rhymes and Eve still walk free after both being arrested for the same charges as Ms. Hilton just this past week.

Singer/actress Brandy Norwood’s California Highway accident, although no proof of DUI was evidenced in her accident, resulted in the death of a young wife and mother in California, yet Brandy walks free as of today, never doing any time and a woman is now dead possibly due to her reckless driving.

Yet, Paris Hilton did not hurt, injure, or kill anyone or anything, and yet she must do jail time.

This letter, with all due respect to you, sir, is to ask you to please consider granting a pardon to Paris Hilton for her mistake, or at the very least to advocate for a pardon to be given to Ms. Hilton. Please allow her to her return to her career and life. Everyone makes mistakes. She didn’t hurt or kill anyone, and she has learned her lesson. She is sincere, apologetic, and full of regret for her actions as she explained tearfully to the Judge handling her case in court yesterday. She is distraught and understandably afraid to enter the prison system.

Paris Hilton's response on her blog:

Thank you Joshua
I just want to thank Joshua so much for his kind words of love and support. God Bless
Love Paris
This was written by one of my fans and great supporters and was posted on my myspace comments section. This is also my first blog with more to come. I love you all.

So if you are drunk or wasted and really want to help Paris Hilton, sign the petition.

However, if you are like me and many other people, sign the petition to keep Paris Hilton in jail.

So far the jailers are very much in front of the Hilton wannabe fans.


Graduate denied teaching degree b/c of MySpace Photo

On the eve of graduation day, Millersville University student Stacy Snyder was denied a teaching degree because of a MySpace photo. Apparently, one of her instructors found a 2005 photo of her wearing a pirate hat while drinking from a plastic "Mr. Goodbar" cup. Of course, it could be anything in that cup. Yet the caption "Drunken Pirate" caused alarm and her instructor confronted her about it.

Despite her attempt to deleting the photo from her MySpace page, the University decided to grant Snyder a degree in English and not her education degree or teaching certificate.

Jane S. Bray, dean of the School of Education, accused Snyder of promoting underage drinking. Yet, given that she is 27 years old, the photo would make her 25, so she was not even underage at that time. Yet, the school believes it was unprofessional and conduct unbecoming of a teacher candidate.

Stacy is now suing the University for her teaching certificate and seeking at least $75,000 in compensatory damages.

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It would seem unfair. First, it is hard to determine if her photo was promoting underage drinking given that she was of legal age. As to being unprofessional, the photo was not that offensive. I would have expected a topless photo or Stacy doing a keg stand, or pouring alcohol over someone else in a drinking game. Then yes, I would call her conduct unprofessional. It seems that Millersville could have placed some sort of higher moral standard on her graduates. Yet, should one photo such as this determine her future character as a teacher?

What if the photo was of her in a political protest rally? What if she was photographed being arrested at the event? What if she was in a mud wrestling match? Or she was a bridesmaid and was in a food fight with the rest of the wedding group?

Of course, the easiest answer most people would give is "Don't show any at all!"

But I would also wonder if her MySpace blog content was "offensive" too? Also in the rumor mill, she apparently told students at one school where she worked as a student-teacher about her MySpace profile, so that could be a mistake on her part. Yet, anyone would be able to find her MySpace with little difficulty in a short period of time.

Barack Obama's Campaign bullies a fellow MySpace supporter

Joe Anthony has been a fervent Obama supporter and helped established the Barack Obama MySpace Blog. For two and a half years, it run by this one dedicated individual. When Barack Obama's campaign started to go into full swing, they worked out an arragement where Joe and the campaign team would coordinate the content.

As the site grew in popularity, the Obama campaign became concerned about an outsider having control of the content and responses going out under Obama's name and told Anthony to turn it over.

Because of Joe's hard work, there were over 160,000 friends connected with the MySpace blog. It is probably true not all 160,000 are fanatical supporters, but at least they are there to support his candidacy. The Obama campaign refused to even consider paying for taking over Joe's site, and asked MySpace to turn the page over to them.

MySpace reluctantly stepped in to settle the dispute and decided that Obama should have the rights to control http://www.myspace.com/barackobama as of Monday night, while Anthony had the right to take the contact information for all the friends who signed up while he was in control. That includes the right to tell them exactly how he feels about the Obama campaign.

So instead of 160,000 friends, Obama's campaign had to start back from scratch and has amassed about 19,000 by today.

As for Joe Anthony, he felt he was "bullied" in giving up his Obama profile. He accuses the campaign of seizing control of his profile without his consent.

Here's his blog and his response to Micah @ techpresident.com

Because of all of this, Barack Obama has lost Joe Anthony's vote.

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Actually, it would have been better to have an unofficial fan site for Barack Obama because you have real people out there who do support the candidate and they want to help out. Making it all official tends to lessen the "truth" that can be displayed out there. I think the campaign team did a poor job in resolving the problem, resorting to using other means to take control of Joe's MySpace profile. Seeking monetary compensation is not extortion. Joe has been working on that page for 2 1/2 years and probably did a heck of a job given his efforts. C'mon, who else can garner over 160,000 friends. Yes, he was a supporter and a volunteer, but the way he was treated by the campaign staff was rude. Asking for money was a test to see what would be their reaction. Besides, they did ask Joe how much he wanted for it. We would at least expect a bit of a compromise but instead the campaign went directly to MySpace and implicitly stated that Joe may "damage" Obama's name with his myspace profile.

The Obama campaign team gave conflicting answers and I think they were trying to screw Joe over and convince MySpace that he was the bad guy, not them.

What a shame!

Another U.S. embarassment: most of $850 million in foreign aid for Katrina went nowhere

Former presidential confidante Karen Hughes sends a cable msg from her State Department office to U.S. ambassadors worldwide.

Titled "Echo-Chamber Message" -- a public relations term for talking points designed to be repeated again and again -- the Sept. 7, 2005, directive was unmistakable: Assure the scores of countries that had pledged or donated aid at the height of the disaster that their largesse had provided Americans "practical help and moral support" and "highlight the concrete benefits hurricane victims are receiving."

However, most of the U.S. diplomats knew the truth. The government was actually turning down many allies' offers of manpower, supplies, and expertise worth untold millions of dollars. Over $854 million was offered in cash and in oil, but only $40 MILLION has been used so far.

Most of aid went uncollected, including $400 million worth of oil. Some offers were withdrawn or redirected to the Red Cross. The rest have been delayed by red tape and bureaucratic limits on how it can be spent.

Wow, so much "confidence" in our federal government to respond to a national disaster.

One example included telling Italy that their shipments of medicine, gauze, and other medical supplies were spoiled.

Greece offered to send two cruise ships to act as free hotels or hospitals, but U.S. rescinded the offer, and instead paid $249 million to use Carnival Cruise Lines vessels.

Overall, the great and almighty powerful United States of America declined 54 of 77 recorded aid offers from three of its most strongest allies: Canada, Britain, and Israel.

If this keeps up, I would expect an aid check about 3-4 years later, and who knows, my destroyed home would have been gone, moved somewhere else, and I will be sitting somewhere in Ohio, and suddenly, a postal carrier would drop off a letter with a government check dated 3-4 years ago. Ha Ha, not impressed at all.

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Speak out against REAL ID

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Over 40 organizations representing transpartisan, nonpartisan, privacy, consumer, civil liberty, civil rights, and immigrant organizations have joined to launch a national campaign to solicit public comments to stop the nation's first national ID system: REAL ID. (see list)

The groups joining in the anti-REAL ID campaign are concerned about the increased threat of counterfeiting and identity theft, lack of security to protect against unauthorized access to the document's machine readable content, increased cost to taxpayers, diverting of state funds intended for homeland security, increased costs for obtaining a license or state issued ID card, and because the REAL ID would create a false belief that it is secure and unforgeable.

Five states, Montana, Maine, Idaho, Arkansas, and Washington have prohibited cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security in implementing the national identification system.

Take action! To make your voice heard, submit comments against this flawed identification scheme. The deadline is 5:00PM EST on May 8, 2007.

Imagine all 50 states' identification cards as 50 keys. If hackers or terrorists hack into one of them, the other 49 are not affected. If all these states were combined into one federal database, this one key alone will make it more likely for hackers or terrorists to crack the security and have access to more than 240 million people's records.


Bush actually demanded a timetable for Kosovo in 1999

Then Governor Bush of Texas criticized President Clinton for not having a exit strategy for leaving Kosovo

“I would strongly urge that if there are U.S. troops involved, they be under U.S. command or NATO command,” Bush said Thursday. “I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn. If there needs to be a residual force, it is important that over time U.S. troops are withdrawn and our European allies carry the majority of the load.”

4/9/1999 - Houston Chronicle

The $67 Million Dollar Pants

After you read this, you probably would agree with Al Bundy's Nine Sacred Commandments: 3. It's okay to put all bad people in a giant meat grinder. 4. Lawyers: see rule three. I hope we can include arrogant judges for rule 4.

ABCNEWS tells of a judge in Washington, D.C. filing a $67 million dollar civil lawsuit against a dry cleaning store for losing his pair of prized pants. Plaintiff Roy Pearson says he has endured "mental suffering, inconvenience and discomfort." He says he is unable to wear his favorite suit on his first day of work. He says he was lured in by the most insidious marketing toll in the dry cleaning industry arsenal: "Satisfaction Guaranteed."

The defenders are Korean immigrants (legal by the way) Jin and Soo Chung and their son, who own Custom Cleaners and two other dry cleaning shops in the Fort Lincoln section of DC.

How did this all started???

In 2002, Pearson took a pair of pants to Custom Cleaners and they got lost. So Jin and Soo Chung gave him a $150 check for a new pair. Three years later, it happened again. This time it was his favorite gray trousers that he wanted to wear for his new job.

So the judge demanded $1,150 for a new suit. Lawyers were hired and legal wrangling ensued. In the end, the Chungs offered Pearson $3,000 in compensation. Nope. $4,600. Nope. $12,000! Still nope.

Instead, Pearson went to the lawbooks and citing the District of Columbia's consumer protection laws, he "claims" he's entitled to $1,500 per violation, PER DAY!

So how did he come up with $67 million for damages and legal fees?

$1,500 for each violation, each day during which the "Satisfaction Guaranteed" sign and another sign promising "Same Day Service" was up in the store - more than 1,200 days.

Then he's multiplying each violation by three because he's suing Jin and Soo Chung and their son.

He also wants $500,000 in emotional damages.

Plus $542,500 in legal fees.

And he wants $15,000 for 10 years' worth of weekend car rentals (for forcing him to drive to another dry cleaner store).

Greedy Pearson even wanted to expand the case into a class action suit, but was denied by DC Civil Judge Neal Kravitz.

Amusing enough, a week after Pearson dropped off the missing trousers in 2005, the Chungs found them, but Pearson denied it was his despite that the receipt and tag do match with each other.

"I've been in the dry cleaning business for 14 years, but this has never ever happened before. If anything happened to our customers' clothing, we would always compensate them accordingly and fairly," Jin Chung said through a translator.

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It was strange enough that the lawsuit has not been thrown out yet, and who knows if this expensive civil lawsuit will be settled for much, much less. Was the point of the lawsuit to show that the customer service at the dry cleaners was not up to par? When Pearson lost his first pair of pants, he went to another dry cleaners. Three years later, he decides to try again and loses his favorite pants.

So he places the fault of those three years on the hands of the Chungs. Mental suffering? How about being called an idiot for the rest of your life? Already, the town of Fort Lincoln is laughing about it. Pearson will be known as the judge with the multi-million dollar pants wannabe.

Drop the lawsuit! It does not even score you any favors with the rest of the national spotlight regardless of your principles. I think the Chungs get the point. Settle the cost at $12,000 and go on your merry way.

Suddenly, I feel the urge to do a 'Pearson'! Let me sue someone for $100 million for not un-wrinkling my favorite shirt.

digg.com might face shutdown over HD-DVD key

As suggested by gizmodo.com, the power of Web 2.0 is in full effect over at Digg, a social content web site where users can submit content, which gets read by other users. If your story rocks and receives enough Diggs, it is promoted to the front page for the million of visitors to see.

digg.jpgThe riot started when one fellow Digg user posted the HD-DVD AACS Processing Key number, which would allow someone to crack the copy protection on an HD-DVD. Under the threat of legal action, Digg.com booted the user from their web site and removed the key.

As a result, Digg users have protested in large numbers over the site's actions, accusing founder Kevin Rose for selling out or betraying the community. A number of people have pointed out that HD-DVD is a Digg sponsor, and have used that fact to level such charges at Kevin.

Due to the hundreds of stories and thousands of comments that have been submitted, Kevin Rose has reversed his decision. According to his post, "You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be. If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying."

The code has already surfaced on gizmodo.com and slashdot.org, and other social content web sites.

Even if digg.com goes to web heaven, there is always another one and another.

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Reaching the $500 Billion Mark - Iraq War

If the latest Iraq & Afghanistan war funding bill gets passed, the war will have cost American taxpayers more than $500 BILLION DOLLARS.

This estimate is more than 10 times more than the Bush administration anticipated before starting this war more than 4 years ago.

If you add in the $78 billion in this "emergency" funding bill, plus another $116 billion for the next fiscal year in September, the total for Iraq will be about $564 BILLION DOLLARS.

Robert Hormats, author of "The Price of Liberty":
"If it's really vital, then whatever it costs, we should pay it. If it isn't, whatever we pay is too much."

Former White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey becomes scapegoat
He suggested a $200 billion estimate before the war even started. He got sacked soon after he made that prediction and was scorned by his administration colleagues.

But still the cost of Iraq was less than our other major conflicts. In today's dollars, the cost of World War II was more than $5 trillion, Korea and Vietnam each cost about $650 billion.

I would understand if this war was vital to our nation's security. Yet, could we be a bit more fiscally responsible with this conflict? Cutting taxes helps our economy, but you got domestic commitments plus the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, so we keep on borrowing. Perhaps we can handle over $9 trillion in debt, but when it passes $10 trillion, or $11 trillion, or $12 trillion? You got this plus the country's financial obligations to Social Security and Medicare. Would you like to say to our nation's seniors that we have to continue the war but looks like we have to cut your benefits down to food stamps? Maybe they can tolerate for a year or two, but what if it lasts a decade or even longer?

It cannot be just business as usual. You cannot treat war as a routine expense of the federal budget. If taxes must be raised for the wars, it must be that way instead of borrowing more and more.

So what if Bush succeeded? We accomplished the impossible in Iraq. Now Mr. President, we got about $12 trillion of national debt, how are we going to pay it off? But better yet, we got a federal deficit of a few hundred billion each year? It will take decades to cut our debts back to manageable levels, but who knows if peace would last that long. Are you willing to tell the American taxpayers that taxes need to be raised in order to help pay off this gigantic debt?